Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 25 – 27
Today’s Reflection: 2 Chronicles 26:16
But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Uzziah was a king faithful to God. Ascending to the throne at age 16, Uzziah ruled for an astonishing 52 years (2 Chronicles 26:3). The priest Zechariah trained him up to seek after God, and as long as he did this he prospered (2 Chronicles 26:5).
Uzziah built up Judah’s military strength and defeated their enemies the Philistines, but this strength went to his head. He began to believe Judah’s power was his own doing, and that he could do anything he chose. The breaking point came when Uzziah attempted to burn incense in the temple of the Lord. This was a task only to be carried out by the priests of God, never by the king (as you may recall Saul had made a similar error when he was king of Israel and lost the throne as a result—1 Samuel 13:8-14). The priests, understanding how dire the consequences might be for Uzziah attempted to stop him, but instead of listening to their counsel this only made Uzziah angry. At the moment he became angry, leprosy broke out on his forehead and began to spread throughout his body. This disease was a life sentence of separation from the people. Uzziah died a leper, with his son ruling in his absence (2 Chronicles 26:17-21).
Though Uzziah was in an uncommon position as king of a mighty people, his error was incredibly common. He forgot every good thing he had came from God and began to attribute the blessings and success he received solely to his own efforts. How often do we find ourselves doing the same things? Claiming credit for the income and wealth we earn? The children we’ve been blessed with? Our physical being? Even crediting our safe arrival at a destination to our own superior driving skills rather than God’s traveling mercies? While we do play a role in the positive things in our lives, it’s important to understand they come from God—just as Adam and Eve had a responsibility to take care of the garden of Eden, but both understood that the garden and everything in it, including themselves, existed because of God. When we become proud, we think we can do whatever we want with our blessings—if it’s my wealth, my children, my body, my life, I get to choose what’s right for me. But when we are humble, God can and will guide us to become good and faithful stewards of what we have received. It is when we recognize our dependency on God, and our reliance on Him, that we are able to be at our best.
1 Corinthians 4:10 – We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
2 Corinthians 13:9 – For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.